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B-25 Mitchell Bombers in the Mediterranean

B-25 Mitchell Bombers in the Mediterranean

Wavetop warfare: Skip-bombing and Big Guns When the North American NA-62, officially dubbed B-25, first flew in August of 1940, it was less than a roaring success. The UK and France had just chosen the smaller Douglas DB-7 Boston (A-20 Havoc) attack bomber over the North American design. However, in the years leading up to […]
Grasshopper Roundup

Grasshopper Roundup

In the summer of 1941, with a world war knocking at America’s door, the U.S. Army was itching for a “low and slow” observation plane. The Army wanted one that could loiter near and over the hidden enemy and, when spotted, could then coordinate with artillery units to rain destruction down upon the foe. During […]

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Fighter Pilot: The Hero Comes of Age

Fighter Pilot: The Hero Comes of Age

The movies and the fighter pilot were made for each other. The motion-picture concept is generally credited to Thomas Edison in 1889, and he continually improved it through the 1890s into the next century. By the time World War I had begun, crude commercial movies were available, with the first heroes frequently being cowboys with […]
WW II Pilot Bernie Sledzick – Little Guy in  a Big Airplane

WW II Pilot Bernie Sledzick – Little Guy in a Big Airplane

Back then, junior year of high school should have been filled with coming-of-age memories, football pep rallies, and homecoming dances. Visiting colleges, choosing high-school sweethearts, and exploring possible careers should have been in the thoughts of soon-to-be seniors. Pearl Harbor changed all that. The very real world war and deciding to fight his country’s enemies […]

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Luftwaffe’s  Bf 109E “Emil”

Luftwaffe’s Bf 109E “Emil”

Apart from its combat record, the Bf 109 remains a historic aircraft for sheer numbers produced. More than seven decades after WWII, only the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik exceeds the Messerschmitt’s total of 34,000 produced, even under the pressure of continual Allied bombing. Nothing else comes close. Frequently, the Soviet Yakovlev fighter series is compared to […]
World War II Trainers – The Ace Makers

World War II Trainers – The Ace Makers

It was a global war foughton an industrial scale unlike anything before or since. Conservatively, it consumed at least 55 million lives while overturning the way humans regarded their nations, their worlds, and themselves. It also spurred the greatest technological revolution of all time: in five years, going from 250mph biplane fighters in some nations to 550mph jets and ocean-spanning bombers that delivered atomic weapons. Supporting the vast American effort were huge training establishments for the U.S. Army Air Force (AAF) and the U.S. Navy (USN). This is their story.

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Silent Targets: The glider gang behind the trees

Silent Targets: The glider gang behind the trees

During the National WW II Glider Pilots Association’s 41st reunion in Oklahoma City in October 2011, glider pilots George L. Williams of Idaho and Norman C. Wilmeth of Oklahoma shared memories of their D-Day glider missions with the author.   MISSION ELMIRA Normandy D-Day Flight Officer George L. Williams flew seven glider missions during World […]
U.S. 8th Army Air Force – The Mighty Eighth

U.S. 8th Army Air Force – The Mighty Eighth

What a difference a year can make The changes came unbelievably fast. On January 1, 1943, the U.S. 8th Army Air Force in Britain numbered six bomb groups and one fighter group. Twelve months later the lineup had expanded to 26 bomb groups and 10 fighter. But even that was incomplete. Through 1944, the Eighth […]

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1959 Rocket Mail Balisstic Missile- It seemed like a good idea at the time

1959 Rocket Mail Balisstic Missile- It seemed like a good idea at the time

Even in these days of the Internet, sending paper mail by airplane remains a major part of everyday life. The early efforts to build upon airmail and experiment with rocket mail, however, never quite caught on. There had been earlier efforts at home and abroad, usually over short distances and using handcrafted rockets. It all came […]
WW II Spitfire Pilot: Teenage Geoff Wellum relates his adventures

WW II Spitfire Pilot: Teenage Geoff Wellum relates his adventures

One of the “Few” Remembers. The mood was, “We’ll have a go at you.” You didn’t allow yourself to dwell on the losses, or the seriousness of the situation. You had tomorrow morning to look to. You made a resolve to do the best you could. The thought of defeat never entered our heads. Nobody […]
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